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From athletes to officers: LEOs offer advice to football teammates who joined LE together

A sheriff’s office Facebook post went viral after wishing two former high school football teammates success in their new LE careers


Photo/Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook

By Police1 Staff

Playing on a football team – or any team sport for that matter – teaches athletes lifelong lessons they can carry with them long after they have decided to hang up their cleats. Teamwork, discipline and perseverance are just a few examples athletes can carry with them into adulthood.

And this is why it’s not unusual for some student athletes to later begin a career in public safety.

Just ask Donald Gaulden and Makel Delatte – former Thibodaux High School football teammates who recently joined the Lafourche Parish (La.) Sheriff’s Office together. A Facebook post from the sheriff’s office celebrating Gaulden and Delatte went viral, garnering 63,000 likes and 1,300 comments.

These two teammates, without a doubt, have each other’s six. But much like starting to learn the ins and outs of the game of football, a new career in law enforcement means you’re constantly learning and adapting to ensure you’re performing at the best of your ability to keep yourself, your colleagues and your community safe.

We asked our Police1 readers their most important piece of advice for not only Gaulden and Delatte but every new officer who decides to don the badge and uniform. We have rounded up the best responses below, but send us an email at or comment below if we missed yours.

  1. “Every day is game day. Prepare and be ready.” – Freestone County Sheriff J. Shipley
  2. “Keep your head on a swivel, take care of each other and remember why you started in the field.” – Penny Pyle Bennett
  3. “Do the right thing every shift and make it home in one piece. Don’t make the job your entire personality. This is what you do, not everything you are.” – Rick Torres
  4. “I tell every rookie that they need to be humble, come in every day expecting to work hard and develop communication skills. Those aspects will help you for an entire career.” – Anthony Salinas
  5. “Just remember everyone is human. Treat everyone with respect – it goes a long way.” – Michael Bradley
  6. “Always do what’s right. Always. It doesn’t matter who tries to tell you different. IF you have to think about if something is right or wrong, then it is probably wrong.” – Troye Dunlap
  7. “Do not become complacent. Respond to every call in the way you were trained. Stay fit, train regularly.” – Becky Larsen
  8. “Stay humble. Keep in mind that times aren’t always going to be easy and you aren’t always going to be loved. But never forget the reason why you started. Never be untrainable and never take things for granted. Family is important. Leave work at work when you can and focus on family.” – Tim Nichols
  9. “Two things to stay on top of: fitness and mental health.” – L.J. Woodie
  10. “Before you arrive at every single call, take a deep breath and slow down. Don’t let fear, excitement or eagerness blind you to potential threats. Take it one step at a time.” – Timothy Sapp
  11. “Use your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.” – Ernie McCracken
  12. “Use common sense and never turn your back on anyone at any time. Don’t walk back to your car with your back to the drive of the car you stopped.” – Richard Anson
  13. “Find a healthy outlet for the things you will have to see and do.” – Jenn Rodriguez
  14. “Never take work home with you and treat others like you would want someone in your family treated.” – Kim Ann
  15. “Always be sure your dispatch knows where you are, because if you need help, they need to know where to send them.” – Amanda Scheller

NEXT: What cops would tell a rookie version of themselves

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